The public war between Samsung and Apple is getting ugly. And Samsung is taking the aggressiveness to a new level.
According to the Associated Press, Samsung Electronics is requesting that the U.S. ban Apple from being able to import popular products, including iPhone and iPad devices.
On Wednesday Samsung filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission claiming that Apple has violated five patents that are held by Samsung.
"The complaint requests relief in the form of a permanent exclusion order prohibiting entry to the United States of all Apple products in violation of these patents," the South Korean-based company claimed in a statement. It also said that the items in question include the iPhone 4, iPad 2 and iPod Touch.
In America people are bombarded with the idea that Apple is the hip, American tech company, even though many of its products are made in China and shipped to the United States.
Apple spokesman Steve Park in Seoul would not comment on the matter.
The legal action is the most recent move in a battle that started in April when California-based Apple Inc. brought a claim against Samsung Electronics in a California court. They declared that Samsung's Galaxy smartphones and tablet computers copied its iPad and iPhone.
Samsung countered with lawsuits in South Korea, the U.S. and other places alleging patent violations by Apple. Apple fired back last week with a lawsuit against Samsung in Seoul Central District Court, bringing the battle to the South Korean company's home turf. Clearly Apple does not fear Samsung’s potential home field advantage.
The argument shows how the market for smartphones and tablets is increasing in popularity. Apple had total domination in 2007, but Samsung has caught up a bit with its Galaxy brand.
And like any good mob-run sector of society, instead of facing competition the tech kingpins would rather snuff each other out.
Samsung and Apple not only compete for each other’s market share, they also do lots of business together. Apple’s success has turned them into the world’s biggest purchaser of chips for computers and phones last year, this is according to to research firm IHS iSuppli.
Samsung is the world’s biggest producer of chips, but they won’t tell anyone how large their transactions with Apple are.
"Apple is our competitor, but at the same time it is one of our biggest customers," Samsung spokesman Nam Ki-yung said. "And we can't discuss our customers."
The International Trade Commission is an independent U.S. federal agency that has the power to block the importation of products made with contested technology. They usually deal with disputes in a 12 to 18 month timeframe.
"We hope the ITC makes a decision as soon as possible," Samsung's Nam said.
The weird love-hate relationship between Apple and Samsung will most-likely get worse before it gets better. Since they have such a close business relationship, it makes observers wonder that the end game is here. Stay tuned to this one, it will be very interesting.